During the early part of the sixteenth century England should have been ruled by King Arthur Tudor, not Henry VIII. Had the first-born son of Henry VII lived into adulthood, his younger brother Henry would never have become King Henry VIII. The subsequent history of England would have been very different; the massive religious, social and political changes of Henry VIII's reign might not have been necessary at all.
In naming his eldest son Arthur, Henry VII was making an impressive statement about what the Tudors hoped to achieve as rulers within Britain. Since the story of Arthur as a British hero was very well known to all ranks of the Crown's subjects, the name alone gave the young prince a great deal to live up to. Arthur's education and exposure to power and responsibility, not to mention his marriage to a Spanish princess in Catherine of Aragon, all indicate that the young prince was being shaped into a paragon of kingship that all of Britain could admire.
This book explores all of these aspects of Prince Arthur's life, together with his relationship with his brother, and assesses what type of king he would have been.
Dr Sean Cunningham has worked for The National Archives for fifteen years and is currently Principal Records Specialist for Medieval, Early Modern and Legal. His other books include 'Henry VII', 'Richard III: A Royal Enigma' and 'Penguin Monarchs Series: Henry VII' (forthcoming). He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and lives in London.